Fodder and Water: Isotope Analysis of Livestock Enamel in Southwest Spanish Colonial Settlements in the Pimeria Alta
The introduction of livestock to the Pimeria Alta in the 18th-century dramatically shifted resource use in the Sonoran Desert and the Santa Cruz River Valley. Colonial and indigenous politics and economics were transformed as a result of the presence and uses of these animals, but it is relatively unknown how O’odham people in the Santa Cruz Valley balanced the grazing and watering needs of livestock with the needs of farming and seasonal wild food gathering in the arid region. Using carbon and oxygen isotopes from sheep/goat and cattle teeth from four Spanish colonial sites in southern Arizona, we explore the environmental and social implications of animal management in the colonial period. Our preliminary data from bulk and serial enamel sampling suggest different seasonal watering and grazing regimes for sheep/goat and cattle herds. Seasonal shifts in plant communities and water evaporation reflected in δ18O and δ13C ratios may offer a limited proxy for O'odham labor and herd and resource management. This research connects isotope analysis methods most frequently applied to paleontological specimens to the reconstruction of recent historical landscape management and the social shifts initiated by colonial interaction.
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Fodder and Water: Isotope Analysis of Livestock Enamel in Southwest Spanish Colonial Settlements in the Pimeria Alta. Nicole Mathwich, Alexander Ruff, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403104)
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min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;